The New Jerusalem.
SUMMARY.--The New Heaven and New Earth.
The Bride, the Lamb's Wife.
The City Coming Down out of Heaven.
Its Walls, Gates, Foundation.
The City of Gold and Gates of Pearl.
The Light of the City.
last verses of the last chapter
have portrayed the terrors of the eternal judgment and the fate of
those who have not served God. There ends the history of the godless
world. As far as inspiration has revealed the future state the godless
disappear forever from the history of the Universe in the prison house
called the Lake of Fire. If the prophet's eyes had not been opened to
see beyond these scenes, dark would seem the fate of our race. After a
thousand years of purity and triumph history would seem to end in the
terror of the judgment day and the darkness of the second death. But
our Lord has mercifully lifted the curtain beyond and revealed to us
the glorious final destiny of man. After a long and weary
struggle, and a history full of dark and eventful episodes, mankind
will reach a goal of happiness and splendor that it is vain to attempt
to describe or even conceive. When the last battle is ended and the
author of evil with all his works, the curses that he has wrought, and
the servants that have promoted his ends, are cast into the eternal
prison house, and their power to do evil forever broken, then will dawn
the bright morning of eternal bliss and glory. This chapter describes
the eternal home of the saints.
1-4. I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The scriptures both of
the Old and New Testaments point to the destruction of the old earth
when the Lord comes to judgment. See
2 Pet. 3:10.
It is to undergo a purification and a renewal to fit it for the home of
the saints in glory. The "old heavens and earth," which I understand to
comprehend the old world and its order, so sadly out of joint, pass
away at the time of the great judgment, and the old state of things
shall be succeeded by a new order, both physical and moral.
And the sea is no more.
Whether this is to be understood literally, or whether it means that
there shall be no barriers between the peoples, such as the sea
interposes, is not certain.
2. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem. The glorified and
heavenly Church, pure and beautiful as a bride prepared for the
bridegroom. This chapter presents a vision of the final condition of
the redeemed and triumphant church. This vision points out the contrast
between the beginning and the final condition of our race. The career
of man began in a garden, the fitting home of a race few in numbers. It
ends, as revealed by the prophet, in a city, the home where multitudes
gather. Of this city Jerusalem was a type. The redeemed and holy
Church, washed by the Savior's blood, and obedient to his will as a
faithful bride to her husband, is the new Jerusalem.
3. Behold the tabernacle of God is with men. Of old the
Shekinah, the emblem of God's presence, dwelt in the tabernacle between
the Cherubim. In this glorious city of the future, God shall make his
tabernacle and dwell with men. They shall recognize his presence, his
protection, his fatherly and omnipotent care over them.
4. And he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes. No sorrow
or travail of any kind shall ever enter within the walls of the city.
The cry of anguish shall never be uttered, hearts shall never be
broken, no tear shall ever dim the eye, and, most glorious of all,
death shall be unknown. Death began his sway when man was expelled from
Paradise; he ends it when the final judgment condemns Satan, death and
hades to enter the lake of fire. The new Jerusalem will be painless,
tearless, deathless, because it will be a sinless city. "The former
things have passed away."
5-8. Behold, I make all things new. See note on
Write. This is the third time in this book, in addition to the
epistles to the churches in
chapters 2 and 3,
where John receives the special command to "write." The other examples
14:13 and 19:9.
6. It is done. All things are come to pass.
I am the Alpha and the Omega. See notes on
This shows that the speaker is Christ.
7. He that overcometh. Here for the first time, after the close
of the seven
chapters 2 and 3,
do we have the promise to him who overcomes.
8. But the fearful and unbelieving. Those wedded to sin have no
place in the glorious home prepared for the saints. "The fearful, and
unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and
sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars," have undergone the second
death, the death that has no resurrection, and can never enter or
disturb the holy peace of the glorious city.
9-14. There came unto me one, etc. This is one of the angels of
the vials of the wrath of God. See
They did their work as wrath angels before the judgment, and are now
seen engaged in other work.
I will shew thee the Bride, the Lamb's wife. The glorified church
henceforth to be united with her Lord.
10. He carried me away in the spirit. He seemed to be stationed
on a high mountain and there to see a mighty city descending out of
heaven. The angel said, "I will show thee the Bride,"
and he showed him a beautiful city. The harlot of
was a great, wicked city, "Mystery, Babylon the Great," while the Bride
is a great city also, the "holy Jerusalem, descending out of
11. Having the glory of God. Lighted by the divine presence and
glory. We cannot follow all the details of its splendor, but they are
designed to show that it exhibited a splendor such as mortal eye has
never seen. The walls are of jasper, the gates of pearl, the
foundations of precious stones and the streets paved with gold. The
dimensions are immense, beyond even human conception, and its gates
stand open night and day. The names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb
are written upon its foundations, and of the tribes of Israel upon its
12. Twelve gates. As many as there were tribes and apostles.
Twelve angels. As gate-keepers to prevent the unclean from
Names written thereon. The names of the twelve tribes of Israel.
These were typical of the true Israel, the saints, and shows that all
who belong to the true Israel will enter.
14. The wall of the city had twelve foundations. The twelve
apostles of the Lamb are foundations of the Church, Jesus Christ being
the chief corner-stone.
15-21. And he . . . had a golden reed to measure the
city. The reed is a divine measure and
the city is to correspond to the measure. In
the church is measured with a reed. Both the earthly and the heavenly
church must agree with the divine plan.
16. And the city lieth foursquare. It is regular and
Twelve thousand furlongs. I suppose that these vast dimensions,
a number twelve times one thousand, both favorite Hebrew numbers, are
intended to indicate the vastness of the city, rather than its exact
17. The wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits.
Again we have twelve times twelve, the square of a favorite and sacred
number. The city has twelve gates, twelve angels,
and a wall twelve times twelve cubits high.
That is, of the angel. The measure of a man and of an angel will
be the same in the New Jerusalem.
18. The wall of it was of jasper. A brightly radiant stone. See
The city was pure gold. The symbols indicate that the city is
beautiful and rich beyond conception. The costliest materials known to
mortals are named in order to give us some idea.
19, 20. And the foundations of the wall of the city were
garnished. They were adorned with precious stones. The twelve
apostolic foundations present every spiritual grace and beauty. The
various stones named are among the most precious known to the
21. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls. Each gate composed
of a single pearl.
And the street of the city. The streets were paved with pure
As it were transparent. Transparency is the symbol of
22-27. And I saw no temple therein. John saw no temple in the
city, such as at Jerusalem. It was all temple. God and the Lamb were
present in it everywhere and every spot was holy. Wherever the knee
was bowed the Lord was present to see and hear. The whole of the New
Jerusalem will be an abode of praise.
23. And the city had no need of the sun. Night never settles
down to shut out its splendor, and eternal light, springing from the
brightness of God and the Lamb, precludes the need of a
sun or moon.
24. And the nations . . . walk in the light of it. The
redeemed of all nations enjoy the light of the city.
The kings. The idea is that all who have earthly dignities and
honors shall make them offerings to the New Jerusalem.
25. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day. The
gates were never shut. This implies, first, that the city has no fear
of any foes. These have all been conquered and subdued. The struggles
have been ended forever and no enemies remain to invade its happy
precincts. It implies, in the second place, that "the nations of the
can always enter. There is always admittance freely to those "who have
the right to enter in through the gate into the city."
26. They shall bring the glory and the honour. All nations are
represented as contributing to increase its glory, as the nations pay
tribute to an earthly capital.
27. There shall in no wise enter. Nothing sinful or unclean
shall ever enter, "neither whatever worketh abomination, or maketh a
lie; but they that are written in the Lamb's book of life."